By Danielle Reid, (Whetstone Staff)
Sophomore Cody Herrmann said he wasn’t surprised when he saw that Wesley was ranked 33 out of 46 ranked colleges in the North Regional category.
Part of the reason he wasn’t surprised, he said, was because Wesley accepts more than half of its applicants.
“Wesley is setting students up to fail,” he said. “They have lowered their standards for admission in an effort to gain more tuition money. These students aren’t prepared for the classes they are required to take and so they waste their money, only to fail out.”
When compared to the No. 1 school in the North Regional Category (which includes mostly small colleges, many private), Cooper Union (New York), Wesley College falls short under most categories considered in the ranking. Some of the major factors considered when US News ranks colleges include selectivity, SAT/ACT scores, tuition costs and financial aid available.
While Cooper Union is “most selective,” accepting only 7.7 percent of applicants in the fall, Wesley was said to be “less selective,” accepting 54.4 percent of its applicants. The lowest-ranked school, No. 46 Bay State College (Boston, Mass.), is “least selective,” accepting a whopping 76 percent of applicants.
President William Johnston said Wesley is a “less selective” school because of the range of students Wesley accepts.
“Part of Wesley’s mission is to accept and work with a very diverse student body and, because of that we have a lot of low-income or first-generation students,” he said.
Freshman Danielle Gehr said she thinks Wesley should be more selective.
“If Wesley raised the requirement for the SAT scores, students attending this school would be smarter,” she said. “Generally, higher SAT scores means a more hardworking student and a higher level of education.”
Gehr said she knows academic help is available, but many students don’t know where to find it.
“A lot of students here could be successful, but they just don’t know how or who to ask for help,” she said.
Tuition is also a major factor in ranking the schools.
Cooper Union is the most expensive of the three, charging $40,250 in tuition, while Bay State’s tuition fees are only $17,994. Wesley charges $21,512.
Gehr said she knows Wesley is expensive.
“Financially, Wesley is a challenge for my family,” she said. “Wesley is very expensive, but at the same time, they are very generous with scholarships and grants.”
Herrmann also said that Wesley was expensive, but the amount of scholarships and grants given to students is one of the reasons students pick Wesley.
“Many students receive money from the school in order for Wesley to become a more appealing choice,” he said.
Johnston said the college chooses carefully when administering scholarships and grants.
“We look at students’ merit and abilities,” he said, including, “their capability of succeeding at Wesley – what they’re doing and how they’ve performed. Students also complete the FAFSA, which provides some assistance depending on their situation or financial state.”
Cooper Union has a 63 percent graduation rate, compared with Wesley’s 26 percent. In addition, Cooper Union has a higher freshmen retention rate of 94.2 percent, while Wesley’s is half that, at 46.8 percent.
US News states that the retention rate is “an indicator of student satisfaction,” suggesting schools with lower retention rates have more unsatisfied students.
Johnston said that Wesley’s graduation rate and retention rates tie together.
“We have a number of individuals working with students to succeed,” he said.
Freshman Dawnya Bland said the administration should reach out more to students to give them the academic help they need.
“I think we deserve this rating,” she said. “I don’t feel like administration is trying hard enough. They could do more to help both students who don’t think they can attend college and those already here who don’t know how to succeed or even stay.”